Greens, Pirates, UKIP and BNP weigh in on tech

Greens, Pirates, UKIP and BNP weigh in on tech

Summary: In the fourth part of our Tech election 2010 series, the country's special-interest parties tell ZDNet UK about the tech strategies they would pursue if in power

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TOPICS: Government UK
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THE BRITISH NATIONAL PARTY (BNP)
Spokesman: IT spokesman Simon Bennett

What would your party do to promote and strengthen the UK technology industry?
The IT service sector — like all UK industries — has suffered greatly through years of neglect caused by the de-industrialisation policies followed by successive governments. The gutting of the British manufacturing sector, which includes IT, will be reversed by a BNP government through a two-handed approach.

[The first policy is] inward investment and protectionism of UK industries to rebuild our industrial and technological base. The funds for this investment will be taken from the funding currently set aside for foreign aid (£9bn per year), immigration (£13bn per year), asylum (£4bn per year), EU membership (£60bn per year), illegal and immoral wars (£49bn spent in Iraq and £3bn per year in Afghanistan), among other non-essential current budget allocations.

[The second policy is] the erection of technology universities specifically designed to teach IT, train up our own people and serve as centres of learning and excellence to train the next generation of IT software and hardware experts. The latter step will obviate the current regime's policies of importing foreigners to do jobs that British people should be doing, a situation that is particularly prevalent in the IT sector and has been identified by the Association of Personnel Service Organisation (APSO) as a cause of unemployment in the UK IT industry.

What is your long-term strategy for the digital economy?
The BNP's long-term strategy for the communication sector is closely tied in to the party's policy of restoring national infrastructure to state ownership, as it always was and which is still the case in most of Europe.

Simon Bennett

BNP's IT spokesman Simon Bennett Credit: Simon Bennett

Once this process is completed, the state-owned telecoms infrastructure will be under the same universal service obligation (USO) applied to the Post Office. The Royal Mail is legally obliged to deliver mail across the country at a standard price and at set service levels. There is no reason why the telecoms infrastructure should not be obliged to deliver similar service objectives on a non-profit basis, which will then boost the entire economy by solving the problems of a lack of digital and rural broadband availability.

It is not the state's obligation to pay for SMBs to develop their own online presence. The state should provide the infrastructure to make such a presence possible — the service, skills, training and IT colleges — but it is far fetched to expect the state to also shoulder the burden of setting up online presences for all private companies.

What role should technology play in government transparency and interaction with the public?
The BNP is completely opposed to secrecy in government dealings with the public, and all personal data should be freely available to the persons concerned. All citizens should have the right to challenge the accuracy of all personal data held by the state.

In addition, a BNP government would ensure that all personal data held by private agencies such as credit bureaus should be available to the persons concerned at no cost, and that such agencies should not be allowed to 'blacklist' any person without recourse to a court of law where a specific misdemeanour could be proven.

What role should open-source software play in local and national government use, and what would you do to promote its use over that of proprietary software?
The need for security of all government data should be paramount. As a result, all software selection should be based on that which is most secure. That qualification aside, the BNP is completely in favour of encouraging open-source software on the grounds of cost and because it stimulates education, builds a skills base and ultimately encourages entrepreneurship — which will ultimately benefit the UK technology industry and the economy.

How would you balance citizens' online privacy against protecting commercial interests? The cases of Phorm and the Digital Economy Bill's copyright clauses are relevant to this question.
The BNP fully supports copyright laws and understands that they are vital to the continued growth and funding of IT software and the entertainment industry in particular.

However, the current approach to punish downloaders is inverted and guaranteed to generate mass resentment while also being doomed to failure. Instead of focusing on downloaders...

Topic: Government UK

David Meyer

About David Meyer

David Meyer is a freelance technology journalist. He fell into journalism when he realised his musical career wouldn't pay the bills. David's main focus is on communications, as well as internet technologies, regulation and mobile devices.

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